MELBOURNE, Australia — Brian Houston, the founding father of the Australian megachurch Hillsong, has resigned after an inside investigation discovered he had breached the church’s code of conduct at the least twice over the previous decade by behaving inappropriately towards two ladies.
The resignation, the fruits of a collection of scandals surrounding the church, was introduced by Hillsong’s board in a press release printed on Wednesday that mentioned, “We acknowledge that change is required.” There was no instant assertion from Mr. Houston acknowledging his resignation.
Mr. Houston’s resignation comes after he stepped away in January from his ministry duties, citing a must struggle a legal cost of concealing previous little one sexual abuse by his father, Frank Houston, additionally a pastor.
The Australian police charged the youthful Mr. Houston in August 2021 with one rely of concealing a severe indictable offense, alleging that he “knew info referring to the sexual abuse of a younger male within the Nineteen Seventies and did not deliver that info to the eye of police.”
Mr. Houston has vigorously denied the accusation, saying that the allegations “got here as a shock to me, and it’s my intention to vigorously defend them.”
His resignation got here as one other potential blow to Hillsong, which grew out of the merger of two organizations: Sydney Christian Life Heart, based by Mr. Houston’s father in 1977, and Hills Christian Life Heart, based by Mr. Houston himself.
In current many years, the church has turn out to be a multimillion-dollar enterprise, standing on the slicing fringe of evangelicalism and Christian youth tradition. At its peak two years in the past, it had congregations on six continents, in addition to a mean weekly attendance of 150,000, in keeping with the church.
Its hundreds of congregants included stars resembling Justin Bieber, Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez, in addition to others drawn to the church’s pop-inflected worship music, powered by a profitable document label.
For many years, Mr. Houston had been Hillsong’s charismatic face, often called a buddy of Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and photographed with high-ranking officers and celebrities alike. Extra not too long ago, the church has been a goal of scandal and criticism, a lot of it linked to its management.
A press release from Hillsong’s board printed final week mentioned that Mr. Houston, who’s married, had despatched “inappropriate textual content messages” to a workers member and had hung out alone with one other girl in her resort room in Sydney, the place she had attended a Hillsong convention. The girl subsequently filed a criticism, a church official mentioned.
“The reality is we don’t know what occurred subsequent,” mentioned Phil Dooley, the pastor who changed Mr. Houston, in a video leaked to the Australian information media. “The girl has not mentioned there was any sexual exercise. Brian has mentioned there was no sexual exercise, however he was within the room for 40 minutes.”
In each circumstances, the church mentioned, Mr. Houston had paid the unnamed ladies an undisclosed amount of cash: The workers member was given the equal of two months’ wage, and he compensated the girl he had met in Sydney for her charge for attending the convention and for a donation she had made to the church.
Within the board’s assertion on Wednesday, it mentioned, “We’re dedicated to doing what is critical to make sure God is honored, and our eyes are fastened on Jesus.”